4 Tips for Improved Gallbladder Function

Gallbladder health highlights:

Gallbladder Function:

  • The gallbladder is the bile’s storage tank.

When Things Go Wrong:

  • Gallstones, light-color stools

Supporting the Gallbladder:


Def. Gallbladder

The 3-inch sac is located under the liver. Between meals, the gallbladder stores and concentrates approximately 2 ounces of bile.


Function: Gallbladder

Digestive Function

4 Tips for Improved Gallbladder Health
4 Tips for Improved Gallbladder Health

When stimulated by the hormone cholecystokinin, the gallbladder contracts and releases bile into the duodenum (first portion of small intestine).

  • Cholecystokinin plays a key role in facilitating pancreatic enzyme and gallbladder bile release in the small intestine. When protein and/or fat-rich chyme (broken down food) moves from the stomach to the small intestine, cholecystokinin is released from the small intestinal epithelial cells.

Cholecystokinin stimulates gallbladder contraction and the release of bile to emulsify fats. Cholecystokinin also stimulates the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, including pancreatic lipase (break down fats), amylase (break down carbohydrates) and protease (break down proteins).

The bile and pancreatic enzymes flow thru ducts to reach the small intestine and begin breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. As the bile and enzymes break down the macronutrients, the production of cholecystokinin decreases and so does digestion.

Bile splits apart fats, cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins, which allows for better absorption and use.


When Things Go Wrong:

Signs & symptoms you may need support:

  • Gallstones (upper-right abdominal pain)
    • Non-fat diet (bile remains too long, crystallizes), dehydration, excess calcium
  • Light or off-colored stools (tan, green, yellow)
    • Dysregulated bile flow, inadequate secretion of cholecystokinin, bile


Supporting the Gallbladder:

  • Eat high-quality fats
    • Grass-fed butter, grass-fed, pasture-raised animal fats, coconut oil, olive oil
  • HClStimulates the flow of pancreatic enzymes, cholecystokinin and bile to prepare for receiving chyme (partially digested food) in the small intestine
  • Pancreatic enzymes, taurine, bile salts:In working with a nutritionist or practitioner, try taking a lipase-loaded pancreatic enzyme when eating a fat-containing meal to break down fat

While the gallbladder is considered a middle-man in the distribution of bile from the liver to the small intestine, its function to hear the signaling of cholecystokinin from the small intestine is key for the breakdown of fats and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

One of the best ways to support the gallbladder is to remove allergen foods, consume only high-quality fats and support healthy digestion.